Every Guy Fawkes Day party I've ever been to has included bonfires, burning of the effigy, and fireworks. They all end one way, however, with a killer dance party either in a field or at someone's house, the fires long expired met with the rising sun the next morning. I can only venture to guess the good men of San Francisco-based band Guy Fox had the same experience at some point, deciding to recreate the night's excitement in their own music.
The name did develop after they played a Guy Fawkes party, quickly morphing into Guy Fox. Their unique blend of funk, soul, afro-pop and maybe a little California rock ensures every booty in the place will be bumping. The noise we hear is bold, backed with horns, solid percussion, and zesty guitar lines. They have a new EP coming out in April, to be released with Tumbleweed Wanderers at the Independent. But we don't have to wait until April to get our dance on -- they are taking the stage at Rickshaw Stop on February 22. I met these foxy musicians at Casanova in the Mission to hammer out what it is that makes this band stimulate the dance center of the brain.
Guy Fox's sound is such a melting pot of influences; I just had to ask if they had a mantra for the group. Nate Witherbee -- found behind the synth playing guitar and singing vocals -- jokingly jumped in with, "Well there's already a group out there called 'Fun' so we don't want to rip them of…" to which everyone laughed. Drummer and vocalist Peter Granquist reiterated: "We don't want to be cheap thrills, but we want to be a mobile party where people show up because they feel like they are at home."
The group's sense of humor and lighthearted nature is matched by their dedication to that goal. They have a way of making any venue feel like someone's living room, everything else falls away until it becomes you, your friends, and a good old fashioned dance party fueled by live music. Effortless is the word I'd use to describe their musical talent.
Even after meeting and talking with Guy Fox, I can't quite pin them down, but I've determined that's a good thing: somehow everything they play sounds familiar. It's refreshing to hear a new sound teasing out the upswing of Talking Heads, the layered accompaniment found in Grizzly Bear's Shields, and the local influence of bands like Rubblebucket.
Granquist says they "are focused on composing songs based on contemporary music in a way that holds true to classic pop song writing. Like that of The Beatles trope." Guy Fox is always in flux and experimenting with their music. Greg Waters, guitarist and horn player extraordinaire, says the band likes to "leave some uncertainty so the music always sounds fresh." The clearest description of their sound comes from bass player Charlie Moore, who says what they're really trying to do is "create an energy and an atmosphere." The band does everything they can to "facilitate a spark," making sure that spark gets the attention it needs to grow into a blazing warm fire you can't help but dance around.